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Hidden Diagnostic Port on Apple Watch Could Allow for Smart Band Accessories [Updated]

apple_watch_sensorAhead of Monday's media event where Apple is expected to provide final details on the Apple Watch, a new report from TechCrunch details a hidden "diagnostic port" inside one of the channels on the Apple Watch where watch bands slip into place. While the port is currently used only for diagnostic purposes, the report argues it could be used in the future to interface with "smart band" accessories bringing additional functionality to the watch.
The port has a 6-dot brass contact array inside the groove for the ‘bottom’ strap connector slot. Several sources have confirmed its existence and placement to me. It is very similar to the connector for the Lightning connector in iPhones, as that connector currently only uses 6 of its 8 available pins. Apple recently began opening up the Lightning port for use by third parties. A source says that this port is currently for diagnostic purposes only — but that there is nothing preventing it from being a connection port for future accessories.
TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino is careful to state that he has no knowledge of any plans by Apple to launch such smart band accessories, but the idea remains an intriguing one. Possibilities for such bands include additional sensors, external batteries integrated into a band, and more.

Apple revealed a number of high-level details about the Apple Watch at the device's unveiling last September, but even now with a launch set for next month there is still much that remains unknown, including pricing details beyond the $349 starting price. Apple will undoubtedly address many of the details at Monday's events, but some of the technical details will likely need to wait until the device launches and users and technical experts can get a closer look at the device.

Update 2:13 PM: The diagnostic port will not be included on the Apple Watch that ships to consumers, according to 9to5Mac.

Related Roundups: Apple Watch Series 2, watchOS 3
Tag: techcrunch.com
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Neutral)


Top Rated Comments

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23 months ago
Battery strap, here we go...

Rating: 19 Votes
23 months ago

Who's buying this launch day?

I'll continue to bite my tongue because I thought iPads were useless when they first launched, but now I own one.

iPads are still useless. You can't do anything special on them that you can't do on a laptop or on a smartphone.
Rating: 10 Votes
23 months ago



Update 2:13 PM: The diagnostic port will not be included (http://9to5mac.com/2015/03/05/apple-watch-has-a-lightning-port-for-development-but-wont-when-it-ships/) on the Apple Watch that ships to consumers, according to 9to5Mac.


Now that's the Apple that we know and "love"
Rating: 10 Votes
23 months ago

Who's buying this launch day?

I'll continue to bite my tongue because I thought iPads were useless when they first launched, but now I own one.



I am. Wait is killing me.
Rating: 9 Votes
23 months ago
But can it connect to this?



I'll be wearing it on my other arm...
Rating: 8 Votes
23 months ago

iPads are still useless. You can't do anything special on them that you can't do on a laptop or on a smartphone.


Right. So Should spend a grand or so on a laptop if I just want a screen to watch Netflix?

Really my point being, to each his own. iPads are far, FAR from useless, but if depends on your needs. My family of four currently has three working iPads in the house, and they are all used regularly. As are the laptops. And the desktops. If you can't find a productive use for an iPad, you're probably holding it wrong.
Rating: 7 Votes
23 months ago

"Update 2:13 PM: The diagnostic port will not be included (http://9to5mac.com/2015/03/05/apple-watch-has-a-lightning-port-for-development-but-wont-when-it-ships/) on the Apple Watch that ships to consumers, according to 9to5Mac."

That's an awfull lot of engineering and manufacturing effort to be discarded. Just saying, if it exists now, it's not likely to be eliminated, even if at first it's only used for diagnostics...


The whole backside seems like a lot of engineering for just a hear rate sensor. Compare the backside of Watch to the competition:

Rating: 7 Votes
23 months ago
Who's buying this launch day?

I'll continue to bite my tongue because I thought iPads were useless when they first launched, but now I own one.
Rating: 6 Votes
23 months ago
Not surprised, Pebble announced this feature too, it's the logical step, it could give you extra battery power or sensors on the straps.
Plus it gives another market to accessory makers.

EDIT: Oh well never mind, it was a nice idea until this story was updated...
Rating: 5 Votes
23 months ago

I've got no interest. Unlike any other device from Apple that I have ever bought, I would feel awkward wearing it. Like I came to work in a zebra striped suit.

If you think this subtle look of the Apple watch is zebra, I don't know what kind of watch would you wear.
Rating: 5 Votes

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